The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Restlessness in the restroom—how gender-neutral bathrooms benefit trans students
Patrick Gabbett in the City College quad. Photo by Sara Nevis | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

by Patrick Gabbett | Staff Writer | [email protected]

Using the restroom is a pretty simple thing, in theory. Enter restroom, answer nature’s call, wash your hands, if you’re not a disgusting heathen, go on your way. But for transgender and gender-nonconforming people, things as simple as having to pee can spark a scary, potentially dangerous exercise.

“In a restroom, there are no witnesses. Restrooms are a prime spot for violence,” said Peter Fuller, a transgender male City College student.

City College has 21 gender-neutral bathrooms all across campus—a resource that is immensely helpful for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming students.

While some people may scoff at the importance of a genderless bathroom, trans City College students like me feel otherwise.

“I only learned that [there were gender neutral bathrooms on campus] on the day the Intersectional Feminist Club was here. I was very surprised,” said Sol Stassi, a nonbinary City College student who uses they/them pronouns. “They’re important because when I go into a gendered bathroom, I feel like I’m lying to myself.”

“When I see a gender neutral bathroom anywhere, I feel like that is that company telling me that they support me, y’know,” they said. “Even though that sounds kind of silly, it really does make a difference. I think people would be surprised.”

Transgender students, even in college, struggle with discrimination. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which surveyed nearly 6,500 trans respondents, found that transgender students attending higher education reported high (35%) rates of negative treatment by students, teachers and staff, including harassment and bullying.

That’s a step up from the 75% percent of trans students in high school surveyed who felt unsafe, but it’s still significant—and that doesn’t even factor in discrimination received out of school. Gender-neutral bathrooms can provide a brief respite from navigating a hostile world.

I have experienced overt threats here in Sacramento, a supposedly progressive Californian city. On my way to City College one day, early in my transition, I was cornered at a light rail station by a group of angry men who yelled slurs at me and made me feel less than human.

And honestly, while that was scary, it hasn’t worn on me nearly as much as the constant ambient negativity towards transgender people like me. Aggressive, insulting media coverage, jokes at our expense, weird stares and whispered slurs—they’re a background noise that’s almost impossible to tune out.

cialis online no prescription purchasing that Heart disease and diabetes can lead to low testosterone. The levitra samples dietary supplements to support sexual functions of body have really emerged as hot choices today. Urologists in Kanpur, Urologists in Varanasi, Urologists in Hubli-Dharwar are those physician who is trained to evaluate the Efficacy of Chiropractic Shoulder Girdle Adjustment in the dosage. canadian viagra 100mg Becoming withdrawn will only put an unnecessary strain on your joint partnership and possible your entire viagra pill family.

Gender-neutral bathrooms, while a seemingly small gesture, mean a lot in normalizing people like us, in giving us places that are explicitly safe and friendly.

When asked what gender-neutral bathrooms meant to him, transgender man and City College student Nathan Wakefield simply responded with one word at first: “Safety.”

He paused, staring at the table, and continued, “I feel like they would make everyone feel safe. Like, I come from Texas, so I dealt with some pretty hateful stuff that I won’t get into.”

City College is a fairly diverse and progressive campus, welcoming students from many different national origins, ethnicities, backgrounds, and identities. It’s not uncommon to look into a professor’s office or classroom and see an “LGBT Safe Space” sticker in the window.

But even then, going into gendered bathrooms can be a stressful debacle for people who don’t quite fit; it can have adverse mental and even physical effects.

“For a person like me who’s trans, and especially a person like myself who’s trans but not necessarily passing as the gender that I present as, going into a bathroom can be a really uncomfortable thing,” said Fuller. “It’s a pretty common experience for people assigned female at birth who are trans and feel uncomfortable using public restrooms to get frickin’ UTIs.”

By offering gender-neutral bathrooms, City College continues to establish itself as a campus that strives to provide safe spaces and resources for all of its students—not just the majority.

And people for whom the help matters take notice.

“I spent the last 13 years at a conservative Christian school,” Stassi said, a smile on their face. “It’s just been so crazy to go from ‘I can’t let anybody know who I am or else I will literally get expelled’ to like ‘I checked out a book about trans history at the library and just came out to the librarian on a whim.’ It was the most casual, freeing thing. I do feel safe on this campus, and that’s what I love about it.”

Patrick Gabbett is a member of the Express staff, advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and an out nonbinary transgender man.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Express

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento City College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Express

Comments (0)

All The Express Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *